1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 215

Happiness, by Dance Gavin Dance
Suggested by Todd Beckett

I want to punch Dance Gavin Dance in the face. I hate their quirky name. It’s terrible. Who the hell is Gavin? Why are you goading him to dance? Just leave the poor lad be.

I want to punch the singers in the face. For pity’s sake, men, pick a damn lane. “Oh look, we’re trendsetting! We juxtapose both clean boyband vibes and dirty screaming growls!” Yeah, great work fellas. Now I hate both styles equally.

I want to punch the drummer in the face. He’s so intricate, so fiddly. He’s so precise that it feels as if he’s floating alongside the band, in his own little drummy cocoon, protected from the world and disconnected from the action as he sits and happily flails his arms at the skinned cylinders before him. But mainly I want to punch the drummer in the face because he’s too good.

I want to punch the guitarist in the face. He sets me on edge with his crisp jangling sound. Every note feels considered and assured, placed within the sound with a soulless efficiency, like bricks in a wall rather than brush strokes in a masterpiece. It’s logical, humourless, and fundamentally ordered. In a very real sense, it’s ruthlessly German, and that’s not pleasant for anyone.

I want to punch the songwriters in the face. I hate that everything sounds depressingly smug, and that it’s all delivered with an aloofness that’s bordering on pathological. I hate that the songs on it have irritating hipster-esque titles. Self-Trepanation? I’m Down with Brown Town? Don’t Tell Dave? Have a word with yourselves.

I want to punch the songs in the face. Strawberry Swisher is a Boyband’s Fever Dream across two jarring parts, the title track has a shotgun drumline and a wailing vocal that chases itself off a cliff like a lemming, and NASA is to the Space Race what climbing a tree is to Mountaineering. My favourite song, Powder to the People, has the most traditional structure, even if the pitched guitar soloing insinuates my brain like a subsonic alarm designed to stop cats crapping on my hyacinths.

I want to punch the album in the face. I hate the ludicrous cover, with a cartoon rower surrounded by menacing Gummi Animals, all artsy line drawn and pastel-shaded blandness. I hate the trite and twee title… I mean, Happiness? Really? Who the hell do you think you are, Ken bloody Dodd?

Actually, I only want to punch myself in the face. Despite wanting to punch every single aspect of this album in the face, I still rate it at 5/10. I reviewed Dance Gavin Dance’s Artificial Selection, and this album is more of the same. I’ve come down hard on it today, but what the hell do I know? I’m tired, and cranky, and old. Happiness just isn’t for me.

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